Spanish fishermen keep up protests against fuel prices

Spanish fishermen blocked ports and fish markets in several parts of Spain for a second consecutive day Wednesday, keeping up protests against fuel prices.

Fishing boats sealed off the Mediterranean ports of Barcelona, Tarragona, Murcia, Castellon, Valencia, Almeria and Alicante while fish workers on land blocked access to markets in each of the towns, news reports said. Others ports in northern Spain, including Bilbao and Pasajes, were also paralyzed, Spanish national radio reported.

In Barcelona, some 100 fishing boats continued to block the entrance to the port at Spain's second largest city, which is also a popular stopover for cruise ships.

The strike began in just a few ports and has snowballed after talks Sunday between the government and fishermen's unions ended in discord.

At a meeting held in Madrid Tuesday, Spain's fishermen rejected the government's offer of a discount on diesel that would price it at around 50 euro cents a liter (US$2.30 a gallon). Fishermen are seeking a price of 30 cents (US$1.40 per gallon).

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Ministry has offered a Ђ10 million (US$12 million) package of increased subsidies for diesel fuel but unions rejected this as insufficient.

The fishermen's strike follows a similar protest by the nation's truck drivers over the high cost of diesel fuel, reports the AP. I.L.

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